I am pleased to recommend to you a new blog, Logics of Solidarity, authored by my good friend John Krinsky. He describes himself there, thusly: “I am a sociologist and one-time urban planner who now teaches political science at the City College of New York.” This is an extraordinarily modest introduction. John’s wicked, wicked smart. He does a mean Elmo impression, and is even able to do Elmo’s impressions of others (e.g., of the Whitesnake lead singer). He is the author of Free Labor: Workfare and the Contested Language of Neoliberalism, published by Chicago University Press. The book description follows:
One of former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani’s proudest accomplishments is his expansion of the Work Experience Program, which uses welfare recipients to do routine work once done by unionized city workers. The fact that WEP workers are denied the legal status of employees and make far less money and enjoy fewer rights than do city workers has sparked fierce opposition. For antipoverty activists, legal advocates, unions, and other critics of the program this double standard begs a troubling question: are workfare participants workers or welfare recipients?
At times the fight over workfare unfolded as an argument over who had the authority to define these terms, and in Free Labor, John Krinsky focuses on changes in the language and organization of the political coalitions on either side of the debate. Krinsky’s broadly interdisciplinary analysis draws from interviews, official documents, and media reports to pursue new directions in the study of the cultural and cognitive aspects of political activism. Free Labor will instigate a lively dialogue among students of culture, labor and social movements, welfare policy, and urban political economy.
I know he plans to focus on issues of work and labor, politics and neoliberalism on the blog. I suspect his sparkling personality and humor will shine through. And if we’re very, very lucky, perhaps he will regale us with some of his own experiences, most particularly, as a talented young chef in New York.